Can you “Say Anything” in the workplace?
Last month, a Silicon Valley CEO told employees that its mission doesn’t include taking stands on political issues outside the financial realm.
As a result, and as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, “employees were told that internal debates about politics and activism not related to work would no longer be tolerated. Those who disagreed with [that] vision of a “mission-focused company” could take exit packages.
Can a company limit the speech of employees like this?
As I noted in that same Chronicle article, “as a citizen we may have freedom of speech, but it only gets applied in certain contexts”.
States like California don’t typically extend the reach of the First Amendment, so the company is probably on solid ground.
But what about Connecticut? Connecticut actually has a law that has been interpreted as applying the First Amendment to the private workplace. As a result, employees do have some free speech rights in the workplace.
But what exactly are those rights? I’ve recounted it on the blog before, but because we’re in the midst of a heated political election, my colleague Julie Fay and I decided we should do a deeper dive into this topic.
Thus, on Thursday, we’re producing a free webinar that’s part of the Shipman & Goodwin Fall Webinar Series on Employment Law. It starts at noon and, did I mention it’s absolutely free to join?
We’ll talk about the election, protest movements, the pandemic, and more. Find out what speech is and is not allowed in the workplace and on social media. And get practical tips on how to manage this thorny issue.